Rockets Get Moving To Ditch Jet-Lag Daze After Long Jaunt To Philippines

MANILA, Philippines — When the cabin door on the chartered 747-700 jumbo jet at long last swung open at Ninoy Aquino International Airport following a 8,534-mile, the Rockets stepped out into the smog-filled sunshine and just might have wondered if they’d ever left home.

2013 Global Games - Philippines

Jeremy Lin, Chandler Parsons and the rest of the Rockets got in a cardio-heavy workout after arriving in Manila.

Dwight Howard, James Harden, Jeremy Lin and their teammates were immediately wrapped in the 87-degree heat and bear-hug humidity of what could have been another morning on the Gulf Coast of Texas.

That would be just as well to the coaches, athletic trainers and support staffs of the Rockets and Pacers teams that will play a pair of games this week in Manila and Taipei. For while the annual Global Games that dot the planet during the preseason schedule are part of the important growing business of the NBA, it is the business of those who handle the players to make sure all that surrounds these barrier-breaking stops in exotic locales is as close as possible to another night in an NBA city.

The phalanx of police officers, security personnel and airport workers that lined the tarmac to see the NBA stars disembark was enthusiastic, yet polite while wavering, jumping up and down and snapping photos with their smart phones. But the interactions with the public in this basketball-mad nation would wait for later as the Rockets boarded their team bus and headed straight to the new Mall of Asia Arena for an immediate practice before even checking into their hotel.

“It might sound crazy, but it actually felt really good to get out there and run up and down the floor and kind of clear out some of those clogged pipes after spending more than 20 hours on an airplane,” said Rockets forward Chandler Parsons.

That was exactly the intention of Rockets athletic trainer Keith Jones, who wanted to shake the players out their lethargy and begin to fight the effects of jet-lag right away.

“The old saying is that it takes you roughly one day to adjust for every time zone you go through,” Jones said. “We jumped ahead 13 hours, so there’s really no way that we’re going to catch up over here. The trip is only eight days long and we’ll be back at home while most of their bodies are trying to figure this out.

“What we want to do is keep them hydrated, fed properly and try to get them as close as possible to a normal sleeping schedule.”

Eddie Romero, executive chef at the Toyota Center, has made the trip and is monitoring the four meals — breakfast, lunch, dinner and a late snack — served. No dairy, no heavy sauces. Mostly grilled fish, beef and chicken with vegetables, usually cooked in olive oil.

On their short trip to the practice arena, most of the Rockets got their first glimpse of this congested, chaotic capital city. It’s a population of 12 million where a crowded intersection of two six-lane thoroughfares often shares space with tattered laundry hanging from a rope line while a single file line of eight goats come out of some tall weeds and prance into traffic.

It’s a tropical climate where palm trees are found on virtually every block of downtown, sharing space with basketball hoops — some of regulation-sized fiberglass backboards, others nailed haphazardly to poles — around the turn of almost every corner.

“I was in Taiwan just a couple of weeks ago and so I know how crazy, from first-hand experience, those people can get about basketball,” Parsons said. “And from everybody I’ve talked to and the things I’ve heard about, the passion is even more intense here in the Philippines. So, yeah, it’s a little bit inconvenient to make a trip like this at a time when we need every day to build some chemistry and try to come together to challenge for a championship.

“But you know what? This is a special cultural experience. There people love our game, love our league. So the least we can do is suck it up and make the most of it. I’m sure by the time Thursday comes and we’re ready to play that first game over here, we’ll be ready. But right now, on this first day, I’m really just trying to stay hydrated, stay fed and stay awake until after the sun goes down. Because right now I’m out on my feet.”

62 Comments

  1. optic920 says:

    shame on you Fran Blindbury……. opps! yeah! you are blind

  2. IDOL says:

    typical houston chron writer….. idiot

  3. sports fan says:

    Fran Blinebury’s credibility went way down tenfold. As a professional sports writer he should maintain a certain level of responsibilty & respectability. He owes the Philippines an apology for such an ignorant & inaccurate description of Manila.

  4. PinoyInBatonRouge says:

    I used to live in Manila. I was there for 31 years. The only time I see goats is when I travel to the provinces.

    Are you in Manila Mr Blinebury?

    Why are you writing things like this?

    You need the website hits? Is that what it is?

    Shame on you for over exaggeration.

    Oh it’s a blog. It doesn’t need to be factual right? Is that what it is?

    I get it. Actually I don’t.

    Don’t ever mask your opinion to make it appear as news. Shame on you.

  5. Cripple Rapist says:

    @celentano Thailand??? What we are talking here is about basketball… You sure like the dumb writer… Does thaliand qualified for Fiba world??? Do the research… PHILIPPINES is the ONLY Asian Teamed Country that crowned Highest among other Asian countries…. Not China,Iran,Korea,Japan,Taiwan,Lebanon,Jordan…….. Thailand??? Dream on….

  6. Ballers13 says:

    Can someone email or tell this guy Mr. Fran to go the Philippines. Hes description of the Philippines was very inaccurate. Traffic must be true but I never seen goat in manila.

  7. ipe1022 says:

    hahaha line of goats?! i see goats in our menu of delicious food but not on streets of manila..

  8. GERRY says:

    There is an American Cemetery right in the heart of one of the pricest property in asia, and a lot nicer than in France.
    American media still have some hangover after the american base was shutdown.Frank Im a long time resident in the First Colony in Sugar land TX and your impression of the Philippines is not correct.What we have here in Houston is nothing compared to Manila.

  9. Dallas fan says:

    Mr Blinebury you are blind and need to be buried. You are a liar. You should write what you are seeing right now if you are included in the trip. Hospitable NBA fans, lots of nice resorts, varieties of delicious food, beautiful women ( 2013 Ms World and Ms Supranational ).

  10. Raf says:

    Stupid idiot!

  11. Randy says:

    In all due respect Mr. Fran, I’m not sure where you got your information or if you’ve been to my country (The Philippines). Maybe next time, do your research thoroughly bec. inaccuracies in reporting is not good. Its irresponsible to say something that is not true. Why not visit our country and I bet you will love it. Just sayin….

  12. gameiton says:

    Mr. Blinebury, are you stupid or just moron… gt your facts right.

  13. willie says:

    fran blinebury shows his age… you probably were in Manila, Philippines when you were a kind in the 1940-1950’s. how old are you? 80? hahahaha….
    @ninggay, read the article first before you comment anything

  14. celentano says:

    poor goat… .i mean if the phillipines haves “goats” ,than they surely having better talents than the usa today!!!lol.
    jordan…>kobe…>magic…>hakeem…>maybe lebron,i like more thailand than the phillipines… much more fun,bigger diversity landscapes with big indo/asiatic influences+less further away too.tanti saluti!

  15. kram says:

    come here first in the PH before writing that idiotic paragraph .. Bitch –,

  16. Mr. Blinebury should visit Manila someday read his article again. Its a huge, I mean huge opposite of what he described in his article, I just hope that this guy won’t use exaggerated fictitious facts just to make his story look good. This guy ain’t practicing professionalism.

  17. edu says:

    beware of the pickpocketing

  18. Chase JG says:

    QUOTE
    ‘a single file line of eight goats come out of some tall weeds and prance into traffic’. THIS IS A PERFECT EXAMPLE OF ‘OVER EXAGGERATION’ REPORTING. Ignorance at its best! By: nanz
    UNQUOTE

    Let me just second the motion on that. THIS IS A PERFECT EXAMPLE OF TOO MUCH MEDIA and simply
    basing a write up on what was or being shown in a mixed tape about ASIA.
    Perhaps Mr Fran “BLIND-BURY” was trying to express another country in ASIA. In which I wouldn’t go that far mentioning which is.
    THE POINT IS, SIR, you are SURELY and a CERTIFIED, “NEVER-BEEN” in our beloved country PHILIPPINES.

    -peaceout

  19. Kamote says:

    True, there are still some goats found in Manila, though these are located at the deepest slums as they were grown to be sold as delicacies and “pulutan” (google it if you don’t know what it means). You’ve done your research Fran (travelling the world with Google LOL). Obviously you wouldn’t have the balls to ACTUALLY go to these places yourself. But in trying to make a writer out of yourself in saying “goats prance into traffic” would just be utterly stup*d. Another day in the office for Mr. Blinebury.

    *slow clap

  20. paulo says:

    Can’t you get it guys, he is not describing what he saw but he is making a mockery of the city. What a shame for a writer to write such insulting words to a city who embrace and welcomes the NBA to the Philippines.

  21. nanz says:

    Just Irresponsible journalism! Ignorant and self-centered.

  22. john says:

    there are goats alright but it’s called “kaldereta”, one of the specialty dishes in the Philippines.

  23. Eli says:

    The star of this exhibition games are not the players but Larry Legend himself.

  24. Aju says:

    I am from there and now living in North America, but for 30 years in my stay there I have never ever seen a goat in Manila..please don’t downgrade my Country, please do your homework before writing..

  25. Drew says:

    Hey mr lineblurry….havent seen goats in line here in manila…u must have mistaken my lovely Manila for Beijing

  26. kams says:

    …you never been in the philippines,you have no idea how beautiful it is,its,its better to say…. your country is chaotic right now,see the US government shutting down,LOL,your blind blindbury

  27. Jumppong says:

    Welcome to the Philippines I bet Manny Pacquiao Will watch the game. hopefully Chicago will play next year in Manila

  28. Ryan says:

    Tattered Laundry and Goat ampotah, hahahaha, check your facts first. I guess that’s expected for someone who can’t afford to travel lol. 1diot

  29. LeggoHEAT says:

    Writer of the article knows nothing about Manila, no big deal guys. What’s important is we got a game in the Phils, it’s gonna be very exciting.

  30. whoisJeffD says:

    Much respect to Fran Linebury as an NBA writer, but did he ever went to the Philippines? A single file line of eight goats coming out of some tall weeds? We have never seen a goat, let alone a single tall weed in any major highway or road in Metropolitan Manila.

    Also, smog-filled? This is not Beijing.

  31. SJI says:

    “…clear out the clogged pipes…” I had to stop reading after that. LOL.

    • Marc says:

      Remember the Surname Blineburry. Plain and simple, he came to the Philippines blind and buried or dreaming….

  32. “It’s a population of 12 million where a crowded intersection of two six-lane thoroughfares often shares space with tattered laundry hanging from a rope line while a single file line of eight goats come out of some tall weeds and prance into traffic.”

    I don’t think there are any goats running around in the city. We have them but not in the capital. tsk tsk

  33. twich says:

    i reallllly hope that they try the balut there!

  34. FrankL2010 says:

    Mr. Blinebury, I worked in the capital city for so long and have never seen a line of goat pranced into traffic. BE RESPONSIBLE WITH WHAT YOU ARE WRITING AND DO NOT EXAGGERATE

    • Dave S says:

      That is why Mr. Linebury is a stat-driven sports writer, not a real journalist. We should all just be glad that he had the courtesy to spell-check ‘Philippines’ before submitting this ‘worldly’ piece of writing. Just stick to your stats and quotes Mr. Linebury, any efforts outside your field exposes how smart you really are.

  35. hanzo says:

    I haven’t seen a goat in metro manila, except lamb chops served at 5 star hotels hahaha… that’s uncalled for mr. nba writer, it’s insulting. Is there any way you can edit this article haha…

  36. lakerfan says:

    Whoa! Welcome to the Philippines. Pacers and Rockets! Its more fun in the Philippines

  37. Henrik Jensen says:

    i’ll love the day a team goes to Denmark, but i guess Phillipines is a bit colder, actually its said why Philladelphia 76ers doesn’t go there, there names is almost the same :)

  38. Robert says:

    wth?! I promise you, even a single goat cant be seen in Manila. This is exaggeration.

  39. maloi says:

    No bad comments in the philippines please!!!

  40. JDC says:

    you must have visited the phils in the early turn of the century and only in the provinces… a lot of tourists can easily belie your claim… well, just ask the Rockets when they come home.

  41. JDC says:

    Mr. Blinebury, I suggest you visit the place firsthand before writing any article, which are based purely on your own weird sense and irresponsible journalism.

  42. nanz says:

    ‘a single file line of eight goats come out of some tall weeds and prance into traffic’. THIS IS A PERFECT EXAMPLE OF ‘OVER EXAGGERATION’ REPORTING. Ignorance at its best!

    • white knight says:

      line of eight goats come out of some tall weeds and prance into traffic.-Shame on those people trying to make bad impression of city of Manila.Honestly You have not been there lately.Dont leave a comment again about this city because even Obama wants to visit this city.

  43. Ray says:

    I think Fran Linebury is confused. I left the Phils yearssss ago but even then, I have not seen goats single file going out of tall weeds in the heart of Metro Manila? You don’t see that in Houston and metro Manila is as metropolis as Houston and any other modern cities in the world… And I think there are lots of goats in Texas too. Houston is my team….. Try San Miguel guys it is the best….

  44. It’s good the people of immigration in the Philippines did not ask for 50,000 pesos as escort for the players!!!

  45. ninggay says:

    hey popoy your name sounds like a filipino to me… shame on you bro!!! leaving comments about your own country like that! pweh! people like you make me sick!

    • LeggoHEAT says:

      I think he just copy-pasted what was written in the article, and then in capital letters he expressed his disgust. He’s actually on the same page as you.

  46. shakilmirza says:

    why no dairy? isn’t that good for you?

    • tay says:

      dairy and dairy products (like cheese) are really fatty and, if you are eating american dairy, it is pumped full of antibiotics and hormones that are given to the cows to keep them healthy and productive. taking those antibiotics/hormones in your body when you don’t need them is really bad for your health. organic is ok, but obviously expensive. i think the general consensus now is that dairy is really only NEEDED for kids with growing bodies. adults don’t NEED dairy the way the dairy industry tells you it does. you’ll notice that cultures that do not traditionally consume a lot of dairy are actually leaner in general.

  47. Joel says:

    Yeah, Houston Team In PH Love it…Lets play basketball

    • Kai Soze says:

      I’ve been to Manila and stayed for a long time.
      Smog-filled? It’s not Beijing…
      “single file line of eight goats come out of some tall weeds and prance into traffic.”? Dude, Manila is more modern than some cities in Europe, believe me! In more than 10years I stayed in Manila, no single goat can be seen. Lots of goats in the picturesque provinces though….

      Visit Manila first Mr. Fran B, before writing such inaccuracies. If it were jokes, it’s bad taste.

  48. Shawn Kemp No. 1 says:

    If they don’t make the playoffs this year, it’s going to be due to this trip.

  49. Popoy says:

    On their short trip to the practice arena, most of the Rockets got their first glimpse of this congested, chaotic capital city. It’s a population of 12 million where a crowded intersection of two six-lane thoroughfares often shares space with tattered laundry hanging from a rope line while a single file line of eight goats come out of some tall weeds and prance into traffic.
    -HAVE YOU BEEN IN THE PHILIPPINES? SOAB